The Class of ‘Black Panther’…

Most of the now-18 Marvel superhero movies can be described as comic confections. Perhaps overdone desserts. Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther serves far richer fare. Perhaps a Marvel meal. Some have hailed it a “masterpiece”, others have called the now-much-laud-laden work a “triumph”, a crowning piece in a “21-st century Black Renaissance”. And with such aContinue reading “The Class of ‘Black Panther’…”

The Decline of Ideas

In the second half of the 20th century, the United States underwent a fundamental political shift. Traditional party loyalties weakened. Ideological identification gained preeminence. The Grand Old Party became the party of the Right just as the party of FDR and JFK turned to the Left.yet today that great historical pivot toward ideological stratification betweenContinue reading “The Decline of Ideas”

Trump is the New __________

THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION: Every historian worries over presentism — the tendency for contemporary sentiment to distort the study of the past. Some call it projection. In graduate school, it’s teleology, or what the French historian Marc Bloch dubbed “the most unpardonable of sins: anachronism.” And so, lightly we tread, tippy-toed, when formulating aContinue reading “Trump is the New __________”


Dear editor, As a tremendous admirer of Masha Gessen’s previous work, I was disappointed to read her latest comment in The New Yorker on “John Kelly and the Language of the Military Coup.” I think Ms. Gessen speaks with little understanding of the civic depth of our society, the checks and balances in our system, the storied,Continue reading “LETTER TO THE EDITOR, THE NEW YORKER: ON “JOHN KELLY AND THE LANGUAGE OF THE MILITARY COUP””

Verlander to Houston

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Justin Verlander paced in the living room of his apartment in downtown Birmingham. He was agitated, anxiously mulling his options. Kate Upton, his supermodel fiancée, was with him as he repeated: “Trust your instincts. Trust your instincts.” Verlander, the Tigers’ longtime ace right-hander, called his agent as midnight approached Aug. 31. HeContinue reading “Verlander to Houston”

The Sorrows of Old Verlander

A car with two men pulled up to Justin Verlander’s penthouse apartment in downtown Birmingham. They parked. It was a Thursday at just about 11:30 pm, August 31st. They were coming from the Detroit Tigers’ central office, sent by General Manager Al Avila, with papers for the Tigers’ long-time star to sign. After a yearContinue reading “The Sorrows of Old Verlander”